Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard had some fun in the comment section on an Instagram post.
Shaquille O'Neal has a barrage of monikers, some self-imposed and self-proclaimed while others have literally been heralded upon him. Among those many pseudonyms, “Big” seems to a recurring theme or motif – the Big Aristotle, the Big Cordially, The Big Shamrock (uh, Celtics days, though minimum), and of course the Big Fundamentals – but noticeably none of Shaq’s aliases has anything to do with the “big” superstar center being ring-less. Rather, Shaquille O’Neal, aka the Diesel at one time, boasts of a total of four NBA Championships, three of which came as a Laker and one with the Miami Heat. But despite Shaq’s winning ways, his old verbal sparring nemesis, Dwight Howard, reached out to O’Neal for a potential roasting session. To Dwight’s chagrin, Shaq Daddy ended the roasting before it even began.
On Instagram, Dwight Howard jovially quipped with Shaquille O’Neal, calling him out, “We can have a roast battle if you want. I got 10 in the chamber for you lol.”
Shaq’s rebuttal was nothing short of a slam dunk: “I only battle champions Lil Man, you ain’t in my division, you in Charles Barkley division. Focus on getting that ring brother.”
To some, Shaq’s response could seem slightly tart, maybe even a little cold or possibly a low blow, even throwing Charles Barkley’s lack of winning into the fray. But given Howard’s and O’Neal’s history, one that has been super-charged since Howard’s Orlando days when he kind of usurped Shaq’s Superman moniker, there’s really no surprise the direction that the potential prompting for a roast took.
Dwight Howard’s attempt to reignite a battle between his one-time predecessor could easily be construed as part of the one-time All-Star’s misgivings and one of the reasons why he has bounced around the league in the last few years. Despite having a massive amount of potential, since 2008 when he led the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals where they lost to the Lakers five to one, Howard hasn’t been back since. In those subsequent years, he’s been with five different teams — the Lakers, Houston Rockets, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, and presently the Wizards. Howard is undoubtedly an athletic specimen, a marvel of potential mastery when it comes to the hardwood floor, but the biggest knock on him has always been his lack of focus and unwillingness to reel it in to be serious about winning. And despite the entertainment value that must have been the appeal for Howard to suggest a roasting between him and Shaq, this only adds credence to the perception of him that circulates the league.
Not to mention that Shaq makes a very good point – to win a championship and to become one of the best, takes focus. And so, it looks like the Big Aristotle, despite being retired, is still teaching even while roasting his opponent.